© WFP/Hussam Al Saleh
After nine years of conflict, families across Syria are facing growing levels of poverty and food insecurity. Severe humanitarian needs persist across the country.
Large-scale hostilities and mass displacement across the northern governorates, combined with a severe economic downturn, mean that the overall food security situation is deteriorating across the country, and families require support to meet their needs and rebuild their lives.
WFP estimates that 9.3 million Syrians are now food insecure. This is an increase of 1.4 million in the last six months alone and the highest number ever recorded. Years of conflict have affected the lives and nutritional status of some of the country’s most vulnerable people, including women and children.
Syria is in the grip of a severe economic crisis, and this is driving levels of food insecurity. Rising food and fuel prices and a depreciating informal exchange rate are making it more difficult for families to access the food they need.
As prices increase, families have been forced to adopt detrimental measures to cope. A recent survey completed by the World Food Programme (WFP) reveals that some families are cutting down from three meals per day to two, there is an increase in the number of people purchasing food on credit and families are selling assets and livestock to generate additional income.
WFP provides life-saving food assistance to 4.5 million people in Syria each month. This includes families who require emergency food during conflicts and displacement, and also those who need help to improve their nutrition and take ownership of their food security. Each month WFP supports children across the country to eat healthy meals and snacks at school, mothers and children to eat more nutritious diets, and families to gain new skills to earn an income and create brighter futures.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Syria
WFP provides monthly food assistance to 4.5 million people across Syria by working together with 32 cooperating partners. This food is distributed to some of the country’s most vulnerable families who have been affected by conflict and need support to rebuild their lives. This is WFP’s largest activity in Syria and provides families with foods such as rice, pulses, oil and wheat to prevent them from slipping further into hunger.
WFP’s nutrition programme helps children to get the best possible start in life and supports pregnant and nursing mothers to fight and prevent malnutrition. In 2019 WFP supported 427,000 people to improve their nutrition across all 14 governates of Syria. Women are provided with cash and vouchers to diversify their diets, improve vitamin and mineral intake, and meet their nutritional needs.
In 2019 WFP provided fortified snacks, fresh meals and assistance through electronic vouchers to more than 780,000 students in 2,800 schools. This food is a key step towards helping students to improve their health and nutrition and motivates families to send their children to school. The fresh school meals programme in Aleppo employs vulnerable women and provides them with training and an income so they can support their families and become financially independent.
Livelihoods and resilience
In 2019, WFP’s livelihoods and resilience activities supported approximately 224,000 people across Syria to protect and restore their livelihoods, improve their food security and enhance their resilience to future shocks. Through trainings and the rehabilitation of local infrastructure, Syrian families will have the opportunities they need to remain on their farms, grow their own food and improve their incomes.